Jeffrey Goldberg writes the Obama administration seems to be arguing Israel is “almost entirely” to blame for the stalled peace process, which “clearly isn’t true.” Goldberg’s own suggestion is Israel should do things it has either already done or would have no effect if it did them now:
“The Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas seems uninterested in even sharing its ideas for compromise with Israel. Yet this doesn’t excuse the Netanyahu government’s inability to curtail the settlements or the settlers, some of whom behave despicably toward their Palestinian neighbors. The occupation will come to an end only through direct negotiation. The West Bank settlers should, if nothing else, be brought under the rule of law, and be encouraged to come home.”
Let’s see: Israel withdrew every settler and soldier from Gaza; it had no effect. Then Netanyahu instituted a ten-month construction freeze throughout the West Bank; it had no effect. There is currently an unannounced freeze except in areas Israel will keep in any conceivable peace agreement — no effect. Netanyahu formally endorsed a Palestinian state — Abbas says he will never recognize a Jewish one. The PA has unelected leaders with no authority to negotiate — even if they were interested in negotiating — and cannot implement any agreement even if one were negotiated, since half the putative state is held by the terrorist group Abbas pledged in the last agreement to dismantle but did not. Abbas was previously offered a Judenrein state on substantially all the West Bank (with a swap for the rest) and walked away.
And it is unclear in the first place why Arabs can live in a Jewish state but Jews cannot live in a Palestinian one.
Apply the Israeli law to the supposedly uncurtailed settlers. But do not think they are the reason there is no peace process, or that encouraging them to leave their homes would have any effect at all. A better peace plan is the one put forward yesterday by the Israeli foreign minister. In the meantime, the settlements should stay put.